Tuning the electrical conductivity of exfoliated graphite nanosheets nanofluids by surface functionalization
The electrical conductivity of exfoliated graphite in water nanofluids has been experimentally determined, and compared with the same property when the dispersed nanosheets have been oxidized. The effect of oxidation on this property is different if compared with the case of sintered dry nanosheets. In any case, for the sintered raw material the conduction behaves as expected in a metal, while for the nanofluid it shows values and trends typical of a weak electrolyte solution. The effect of oxidation on the electrical conductivity of exfoliated graphite can be explained as being caused by the dissociation in the fluid phase of the moieties resulting from the chemical functionalization process. This opens the possibility of designing a functionalization process to tune the nanofluid electrical conductivity.